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role? who else? can you tell me another country from the region or another part of the world? syria is a damage but it has not destroyed the potential yet. >> i think 2013 is going to be an important year. if obama is reelected, the first year of the second term tends to be one of their best years because that is when they maximum political maneuverability. it is not a technicality of this that makes this complex. it is the politics. in 2013, at least obama will be in a situation where he would
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have greater maneuverability than he has had. as a result, i think it would be good to go back to the principles of istanbul. it should be reciprocity and proportionality. i would suspect that the president would be thinking about his legacy going forward. re-election has been the guiding star of thinking of this year. going forward will be legacy. i don't foresee him having a lot of chance of making a legacy in politics he will have some issues he can make a priority. he can spend political capital to resolve them. as complex as this issue is, i
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doubt it is more problematic or has less chance of a resolution that other conflicts. i suspect the president would choose this and i beg it would be critical to make an investment in the type of sustainable diplomatic effort that is needed. i think the president should be commended for keeping the diplomatic channels open. there is no sense in calling it quits. keeping it alive is valuable and is sending a signal that this is not an issue, like any other conflict of this dimension, that can be resolved with four or five meetings. it will take longer than that. if mitt romney -- i would also recommend that it has been slow
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on this escalation dynamic. the escalation options are becoming fewer and more dangerous. that is leading to a more difficult and dangerous situation that was four or five years ago. i think we have to be careful to avoid this scenario in which the sanctions become with the cuba sanctions work -- something that few people would argue are effective or have brought a better solution. it is impossible to move them politically and as a result, we don't see a solution of the situation. we see something cementing a very negative status quo. >> i am from the u.s. naval academy. thanks to all of the panelists for your excellent presentations. what are the lessons to be
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learned out of what appears to be a consistent record of frustration? we see the breakdown of the geneva agreement and the breakdown of the apartheid agreement and a series of meetings without results. what are the lessons to be learned from this? >> to put things in perspective -- you can think -- one will find going forward -- we were talking about the agreement in istanbul. the whole issue of 20% of iran's call for sanctions, the united states there is a problem that
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iran to want to negotiate for a position which has changed -- you talk about 20% -- they want sanctions to be lifted with them stopping 20%. the question is they are enriching. we said their right to enrich should be recognized and that would negate all the u.n. sanctions. the nuclear issue stems from u.n. security council issues. within the margins of this issue, there is room to change going forward. i think we may find that it is
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constrained by the fact that israel is still there. israel is not about to let go of its concerns. i think there has been a lack of dialogue. it would be good if the two sides could sit down together. they could start with this temple and hold discussions and feel of how each side can help each other. my advice for the u.s. diplomats would be to sit with them and say we are not going to talk about the nuclear issue, how is your family. there is the fact of just discussing. on the other side, there is the problem that it is not clear
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what the endgame is. we're calling on iran to suspend nuclear enrichment. how will that work out? that is the big issue. it is difficult in this environment to present to that. i would assume that if obama is 3 elected -- is reelected, this might be an avenue to explore. there is a p5 +1 meeting, there is a lack of diplomatic contacts. it was in international forums like the united nations in new york where there was ample
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opportunity for diplomats to talk to one another. there was the advantage of having diplomats who are completely aware of the technical nature of this issue and that has been eschewed by the united states because washington feels there are too many voices talking. you don't know who is really talking when that happens. there should be no confusion about the solutions presented. i think we are missing a huge chance to explore with ambassadors to really know the issue and can hold very off the record discussions to explore what we can do. i think that has not been done
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enough. track 2 has gone nowhere and track one has gone nowhere. i would like to see that happen. perhaps we can try to show the iranians with the end game is. if mitt romney is elected, that might set us back quite a bit. >> it is difficult to negotiate with one of the oldest civilizations. you can appreciate how difficult it is to keep iran on board.
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sanctions don't work. iran may be put under tougher sanctions but think of the pakistani situation. i don't think iran is committed to get the bomb but that was the case, [inaudible] united states may or may not want turkey to get involved. it is not the only arbiter in the world. you mentioned four reasons why
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the talks were doomed to fail. at the time, i knew something that was announced one year later on television. it was said they had agreed temporarily to suspend enrichment. that declaration was a statement of the objective. it was agreed and sort of adopted. iran had promised this. they would eventually suspend
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enrichment. therefore, every time we don't agree to the level where we are, we're paying a much bigger price than we were previously. >> no one has more brilliantly than you put together the lessons that i ran and the united states can learn from each other. it would be important to bring other countries in but not necessarily in the p5 +1 but in the absence of trust that exists with the western iran, a
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facilitating role is needed. the united states has frustrated the -- has expressed been frustrated by the format of the p5 +1. i think there is waste to complement that better possible. i agree 100% about the direct bilateral approach. the iranians have not agreed to do this at any of the meetings. forn't think the u.s. asked it in moscow but it was rejected. i'm sure something is being done behind the scenes but it would be important to have those direct talks. beyond that, it goes back to political will -- none of these major deals that have been struck like an libya give up its
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nuclear program, negotiations have not been perfect. political will to push and recognize a deal is better than no deal is so strong that they overcome the flaws that existed and i got to a better situation and from there on, worked to improve the deals further. expecting the purpose deal to merge for either side is a guarantee for failure. >> in the very back there? one broughtised no up the u.s.-iran discussions. there was martin dempsey's comments in london. opposing the obama policy.
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with the obama policy in libya, there have been threats by russia toward escalation toward thermonuclear conflict. how does the iran situation fit in? why is martin dempsey coming out and oppose informal administration policy? are we pushing toward thermonuclear conflict with russia? how we avoid that? understand the question. >> let's move on then to the gentleman here. thank you. >> for those of us who have
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followed this whole issue, that was a brilliant presentation. this is an important question -- is a rent aware that obama cannot make a deal before the election? the white house knows that any deal would require some movement on the sanctions, as you pointed out, and israel and mitt romney would dump all over that and create an issue. is iran aware that obama will have more opportunity if he is reelected to make a deal along allies of istanbul which are very close to an agreement? >> yes, i do believe the iranians are aware. that no significant movement on the key issues they're
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interested in such as sanctions released as soon as possible in an election year. the problem is they are so suspicious and doubting obama to deliver even after having been reelected. i would not be surprised if there are elements that may think it would be better for them to have mitt romney elected. if there is not going to be any deal and the ways because it is not possible or the u.s. does not want to or they don't want to, who is more problematic for iran? obama has managed to put more pressure and more sections on iran than any other u.s. presidents. he has managed to have feet asians cut the buying of oil from iran. he has done so by pursuing a policy in which he is minimizing his differences with those countries to make sure they can come to an agreement on the
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iran. there is a meeting with people from mitt romney's campaign and several ambassadors. without going into detail, several of the ambassadors walked out. because of their frustration and disappointment of what was being communicated. if you are sitting in tehran, you may think that is attractive because a run the administration that -- a romney administration that cannot sustain that, will make it easier for them. >> is the ongoing talks between the iaea and technical
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representatives from a ramp and issues like entering the questions on the military dimensions of the iranian nuclear program and about that and making a visit -- any possible nuclear activities their decks do you think such talks have a possibility of progress if there is nothing on this p5 +1 level ? >> the question of nuclear work, the investigation has been stalled. is has gone nowhere since august, 2008.
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iranians have said we want a structured agreement on how we proceed with the negotiation. there are news reports about the satellite images of alleged cleaning going on. the iaea discovers things by doing environmental tests. iran has allegedly been digging up earth so that the soil samples would not be the original surface. investigation is going nowhere. they said there is no point in meeting again because they're not getting anywhere. the area said these were constructive discussions.
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there's a lack of communication there. the iaea is learning to p5 +1. the discussion has been stalled for so long, is almost separate from the political process. when the political discussions get going again, you should probably look again at iaea. the problems don't mean that things can be wrapped up. >> i think there is a question -- no - i will let this gentleman have the next question. >> what you said about this
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being a technical issue and the political content should not be a difficult thing. the response of russia and china to the policy of the administration with respect to intervention is a question and second, the discrepancy between some of the administration officials and what has come out in israeli newspapers the last couple of days. the russian military and medvedev have said in recent months that the kind of intervention against what we saw against libya and we can see with syria could lead to full- scale regional wars including using nuclear weapons. >> can you make your second point? >> benjamin netanyahu canceled a
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meeting with his staff a couple of weeks ago due to the leak that after the martin dempsey speech in london, it leaks at the white house -- it said the u.s. would not ask israel as long as iran did not attack the united states. this kind of a ghost of the cuban missile crisis. the administration says one thing but the joint chiefs have asked obama not to tell israel not to attack iran and obama reportedly said that is not my position. >> we get it. would any of you like to comment? we will take this as a comment. instead of a question. >> we have an administration
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doing this kind of violations -- >> i understand. next, please. >> suppose i ran a bit of everything and says we will eat grass. what do you think should be done then? >> the iranian position is that having weapons of mass destruction is a violation of their religious principles. what they turned iran and said they do not want nuclear weapons, that is not a minor thing. their argument is that they don't want nuclear weapons for religious reasons. many people don't believe that.
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if they said they were lying and had a weapons program and stopped it region stopped it -- this should be a clear violation of their obligations. >> [unintelligible] russia seems to be supporting the iranian position. at a time when russia needed hard currency, it was i ran that
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furnished it. anything that bothers the united states that russia can put forward for political leverage, russia will do. [inaudible] i can only think of a situation where iran gets the bomb and russia is still at their side and the u.s. is on the other. >> russia has been in a good citizen with indeedp5 +1. in moscow, the russian representative told me that when he met with benjamin netanyahu, he avoided the
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russian position that may be different with p5 +1. russia opposes a military intervention. one reason the united states may have rejected the 2010 proposal is there a tool in this conflict has a been p5 +1. so much of the diplomacy is used to keep that together. russia and china have signed on to the u.n. security council resolution and they have signed on to present a unified front to the iranians in these talks. >> if the iranians were to come out and say they do have a nuclear weapons program or say they have nuclear weapons, rest assured, the isolation would intensify further and whatever
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tensions existed in the past would probably go away. i don't think iran would gain anything in particular. if one is pursuing a policy based on your assumption that they are doing this and eliminating all other possibilities and eliminating the policy options, i think that is a bigger problem now. both the eu, the u.s., and israel agreed that there is not a nuclear weapons program in iran right now and there is no decision in iran that has been made to build a nuclear weapon and they don't have one. mindful of that, we should be careful not to assume that this has taken place and act accordingly because that could end up playing into the prophecy.
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>> [inaudible] >> i was born in tehran. this has been a wonderful discussion. a few weeks ago, representatives of the nation's came to this meeting and the chairmanship was handed to president mahmood, amida -- ahmadinejad and there was not much of it take on it in this country here.
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it is important to know if we really are taking 6.5 billion people in the world seriously or do they not count for anything therefore they do whatever they like. are we going to be able to be the same america that the world population gloves and everybody wanted to come here and realize the american dream or how have we ended up in such a quagmire where people hate us even more than they did six months ago? >> you wanted to make a remark? >> it was i ran's turn to take place -- to take over the presidency and that's what that meeting took place in iran.
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[unintelligible] it is an important meeting but we have seen other circumstances where iraq gets official people together. i attended a meeting in march, 2005. it brought together people from
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harvard and brookings in the united states and europe. the iranian people believe this is an important thing. they say this is a way of presenting themselves and their position. they are mobilizing support but when judgment day comes and it is possible to see what is in the minds of people about the iranian nuclear ambitions, [inaudible] not many people in the world would like iran to have the bomb. this is the way in politics and
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diplomacy. ." >> did you know any of the scientists that were assassinated? >> sure, we follow world media. >> did you personally know them? >> we know it was a big loss for a red. >> it has been so intense whether certain incidences were a victory for iran or the u.s., i think what ever benefits were probably bigger as a result of the campaign to prevent ban ki- moon from going there in the first place.
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and never saw so much media attention has that got. the fact that ban ki-moon went to end when he was there, matthomeini and expressed an --d met homeini and expressed his criticisms took more bravery. i think that was exactly what the secretary general should be doing, going there and confronting and presenting these criticisms instead of staying at home and saying slogans from thousands of miles away. >> i think you have already addressed of this, but how much
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of the sanctions does this bring iran closer to a decision? >> it is a good question because it goes to the heart of the matter. in order to prevent countries from going in that direction, we have to look at the supply side of things and how can we raise the cost for that and make sure they don't have access to materials but also asked what is causing them to desire such things. to what extent does the threats of war or the level of sanctions change or alter the iranian equation. ? according to intelligence, they have not made a decision but would look it shah's government
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is doing and the present government is doing similar things. he was seeking to have the option of being able to build a bomb but he would not do it unless it was a significant deterioration in country's security or the regional security. the two things he was most concerned about was that he predicted in 1977 that saddam hussein would take the first opportunity to invade i run. -- iran. also he said the united states would not risk a nuclear war with russia and would not help iran if the russians attacked. he wants to have that option but he realized that building this would have negative connotations. present government is pursuing a line similar to those.
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pressure will have to be part of the policy, how can make sure that does not change the equation in that direction? the u.s. is not looking for a military confrontation. >> i would like to add some observations -- late last year when the talks came to a certain level, i ran seemed to get lenient. jews toressure, iran s
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diplomacy. - choosed diplomacy. iran wants to be a supplier country. they don't want to just develop their own needs. when i was there back in 2005, they edged why don't we share technology? if iran is attacked, i suspect iran can retaliate in kind. that is that every option has gone out the window.
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the iranian authorities know they would retaliate if attacked by israel. they would lose cities and technology but also faith from their public world opinion is not in their support. >> is probably one of the questions right now where we know sanctions are affected. but are they effective enough to get the a readiness to change their behavior or opinion? the u.s. calculation is that the sanctions against the central bank and oil sales went into
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effect in july. the thinking is let's see how it goes after six months. i don't think anyone knows whether sanctions are strong enough to get the iranians to change their behavior. many people feel they are not but we will see. >> i have already answered but i will take another go at this. he mentions the iranians have time on their side on the u.s. side, there's a perception that time is on the side of the u.s. these sanctions are having a severe effect on the iranian economy. in theory, the a reimposition will be softer down the road. -- in theory, the iranian position will be softer down the road. if iran does -- iran does not give in under pressure, they
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give been under enormous pressure. in 1980, the ayatollah khamenei said he would never stop the war but then he agreed to the un council security resolution for a cease-fire. prices were at an all-time low and saddam hussein had been using chemical weapons and under those circumstances, i ran had to succumb to the pressure. there is plenty of flaws in this but two of them i would like to bring up that are important. there was some clear choices that iran had. iran and ho,meini knew that if he drank a cup of poison, the war would end. if they drank a cup of boys and
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today, they don't know what will happen. will the sanctions be lifted? they may or may not. there is a lot of maybes. that was not the case in 1988. secondly, to obama's credit, obama is no saddam hussein meaning he is not a brutal ctator that does not have to deal with a pesky congress, it does not have to deal with the benjamin netanyahu government, does not have to deal with all the different things that obama has to deal with. saddam hussein did not have those things. if you disagree with saddam hussein, you would be dead. there are doubts of whether the president can deliver on something he does not exactly
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know what it is. they're going with sanctions and the hope that the iranians will become softer. it is so focused on the effort to add pressure and is not sufficiently focused on making sure that there are clear choices. otherwise, it would be nothing more than naked escalation. that's what we have seen so far. >> i think it is an oversimplification of what is going on. the pressure of the sanctions are designed not to force a final solution, that choice of words, but to get the iranians to talk. it would cost iran nothing to sit down and say we want to get
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this thing settled. the perception in all the talks so far, especially the recent round, is that despite all the talks by all the different modalities of getting together, there was no substantial discussion. the agreement reached in istanbul in april was an agreement about how to structure the talks but there has not been one attempt to move toward an agreement. the u.s. position is that there should be very strong pressure to get the iranians to sit down and start talking. once they get talking, maybe they can reach some assurances. >> i don't think there are more questions. i will have to wrap this up soon.
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>> of like to get a couple comments -- -- i would like to get a couple comments -- contrary to what the u.s. government officially says, do you guys think we are seeing a change in u.s. policy as a result of the back-and-forth? there are also drawing down with military maneuvers with israel. >> is there a real discrepanc? between the israeli policy and
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the u.s. policy? is that the question text >>no, [inaudible] >> i think the current situation is one that has existed from the get go on this crisis. israel wants to draw the united states in and they want this to be an international effort against iran. there's some confusion as to what the red line is. pressure to get a clear statement from the united states. at the same time, the united states is trying to get a clear message out not to jump the gun. they want this -- this plummet -- they want diplomacy to work.
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it is a tremendous amount of jockeying. overall, the u.s.-israeli alliance is strong. in the past, the united states has differed with israel and military moves but i think you are seeing an expression of a difference of tactics. >> it is important to also note one thing -- there is a significant amount of problems between the two governments. from the american perspective, there is frustration because of the feeling of the benjamin netanyahu government is trying to impact of elections here and is interfering. when you talk to officials privately, they expressed
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significant frustrations. some of that has leaked out to the media including the key to discussion between ambassador shapiro and benjamin not -- and benjamin netanyahu a few weeks ago. it is too early to make a judgment of that. it is quite clear that there is an increasingly divergent view between the netanyahu government and the obama administration to handle this issue and a large number of issues. from serious to the arabs spring. -- from syria to the arab spring. >> based on my observations in might year as spent in the united states, american
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relations are for more complex than any other nation in the world. we cannot look at this as an alliance between country x and country y . if i read and says u.s.-israel relations are at their lowest and let's use that, that would be a mistake. many iranians living in iran --
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iran is not a typical middle eastern country where people are really zero pressed -- oppressed. is it -- it is a big culture and they let many people go abroad and make observations and share their observations. iran is keeping abreast with of the west. the clock is ticking. it is not just a closed society. i was sitting in turkey for decades before i went to iran the first time. after what i saw, i ran is
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following the world closely. iran would not like to be hit the cause the day that israel attacks, iran will not be able to reciprocate because the united states will be there. that will force iran to stay at the negotiation table. what is left to be offered to iran? we are at a point where this is not the way politics should continue. the united states must look at the situation to find a quick solution.
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we're dealing with an old civilization. some solutions are very difficult to negotiate with. the way you treat iranians is important. it is a big culture, don't expect them to react water -- right away. >> we're almost out of time. there has been some articles in respectable journals. teh flip side of the attack theory is to bring iran into compliance, to make a ran a
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m - intor of the system get the sense this could become an attractive idea. give me your comments. those hypothesis have been written the bout in the united states. >> if you read the article on the screen, there are people close to this who mentioned the article and the shock therapy. haveand israel don't anything at stake. they don't have a border
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dispute or anything that would force two countries to fight each other. iran wants to be treated as a regional power. they want to keep their role in the regional security structure. i remedy given a role -- iran may be given a role in this. >> a large part of the iranian policy is the strong support
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mpt. they cite that as a justification for their nuclear aspirations. on the other hand, there's an article that says there cannot be proliferation of nuclear weapons. that is the argument that the international community is using to impose the u.n. security council resolutions. there is no question that iran is committed. mpt did not throw out inspectors. they allowed safeguards and cut down on some of the safeguards they were allowing. it is a double edged sword. as is little question of nuclear technology and one can argue that if there is strong advocates for thempt, they should answer questions about possible military actions. >> thank you very much.
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>> there have been conversations to see if this can be turned into a win-win. iran was talking about a fuel bank. there would be facilities in the middle east that would provide nuclear fuel for all the reactors. the response of the iranians have been cautious in my estimation. i think they are looking at the red line. if there is an agreement to have a multilateral facility, they are ok with it if part of it is on their soil. if it will be in jordan or catarrh or other countries but not iranian soil, they will say no. >> with that, on behalf of the director of the middle east program here at the center and a
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director of the international security, i would like to thank you very much. i would like to thank our speakers particularly for a very thoughtful presentations. banks also mona yuseef and michael dardan. if you brought it interested on global issues related to global warming, on september 12 3:00 p.m., we will convene here on the sixth floor for a discussion of the conference that took place two months ago in brazil. thank you very much. you're always welcome. [applause]
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> in less than three weeks, the first of the presidential debates live on c-span. watch and in a. gauge next, live, your calls and, "washington journal and on," then "newsmakers." after that, some of the speeches from friday's value voter summit held in washington. >> i think people really like to see where policy views have shifted over the years. people like to see whether mitt romney in 1994 was campaigning for or against welfare reform or abortion. they want to see what he was doing during his 2002 campaign and people like to see of these
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politicians have evolved. there is an element that is a element andotcha' others say it is interesting. >> i try to think why is he has changed so often. why does he find it so difficult to come down on one side of an issue? >> as someone was running for state office the first time, does it help the rod blagojevich is involved if your name is barack obama a >> ? he is one of my heroes. >> you can describe it as the viral beating hearts of the internet. >> more with this reporter tonight on c-span 's"q &a." >>

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